M. Jay Granberry
"Times up kids. The Hotel is expecting an answer by the close of business today. I’ve given you all my reasons why this residency is a good idea, but if we do this, it has to be unanimous. For a band like us, a year is hella long. Have we ever spent a year anywhere?”
Adam Beckham, the lead guitarist of our band Sin City, and my songwriting partner asks as he paces the narrow path between the seats of the jet we boarded after closing a festival in Mexico City.
“Remember that time back in 02, in Mr. Cooke’s class? That was a year, right?” Daniel Xu, our drummer, shrugs as he rips the top off a bag of M&M’s and upends it into his mouth.
“Since when did a school year last twelve months? And bro tenth-grade was like fifteen years ago.” Adam’s voice is a low rumble barely audible above the hum of the engines from the opposite end to the jet.
“The point of that tickle to your memorables is to remind you that we have indeed been somewhere for a year,” Dan says around a mouth full of candy.
Adam turns for the new leg of his next lap up the center aisle. “Tenth-grade band in Pahrump, Nevada isn’t exactly where I was going with this, but I feel you.” He says running his hands through his chin length blonde hair tucking it behind his ears. “I’m talking more about the grind. We’ve been in grind mode for so long I’m not sure we know how to stop. Or if we even want to stop?”
“This constant touring s**t is for the birds. Seriously. I mean when we were twenty-one going to sleep in London and waking up in Belgium was an adventure, but now? Not so much. We’re in our thirties. Three. Zero. Thirty. This one," Dan says pointing a drumstick at our bassist, Miles Anderson. "Is supposed to be my wingman but since he put a ring on it, he's only interested in one set of t**s and ass. And you two," he says twirling the stick through his fingers stopping the rotation to point first at me and then at Adam. "Get mobbed everywhere you go and that is an even bigger cock block than his pussy pining. So, I get to go home, tap a whole new market and make money doing what I love with my best friends…"
“Speak for yourself. I’m only twenty-nine a*****e, and those t**s are a masterpiece.” Miles interrupts as he dodges the crumpled yellow candy bag Dan throws at his head.
“As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted. My vote is not just yes, but ha-ha HELL YES.” Dan shouts loudly in the mostly empty cabin.
"Okay, that's two for the residency, what about you?" Adam asks with a lift of his chin toward Miles as he turns to walk down the aisle.
“Man, my wife, and kid are in Vegas. My answer is easy. I've wanted to be home for a long time."
"I need to hear the word, Miles. Is that a yes?" Adam stops his pacing long enough to stare at Miles.
"Yes." He says with an eye roll worthy of a heroine in a telenovela.
"Good deal. So that's three for, and what about you Sin?" He starts moving again, his eyes boring into mine as he passes my seat. His blue eyes still as piercing as they were the first time, I saw them on the other side of the dinner table, in the group home, and he took me under his wing and told me how my new home worked.
What about me?
No, I don't want to do a residency in Las Vegas. In not so polite words, f**k Las Vegas. What happens in Vegas needs to stay there. And live there. And never see the light of day there. I’ve avoided that city like it’s ground zero of the zombie apocalypse.
Four years ago, I left on the first thing smoking, and although I’ve been back for a couple of concerts, because the other members of the band have ties to people in the city. I only stayed long enough to get on stage and back to the airport once the show was over.
That shanty desert town means the world to the men that mean the world to me and no matter how far I travel or how long I’ve been away it still home. How can I say no? Adam just got a notice from child protective services that his mother overdosed leaving his sister at the mercy of a broken system that tried it’s damnedest to break us. Miles’ wife is three months pregnant with their first baby and although Dan tries to act like all he cares about is pounding his way through the female population I know better. His entire family lives in Las Vegas, and his grandmother’s Alzheimer has gotten significantly worse.
Saying no would be selfish and nasty in a way that I’ve never been. I’ve looked at this situation from every angle and no matter how I slice it or dice it I can’t come up with a valid reason or at the very least a convincing excuse to decline the offer. Other than I’m afraid to see my ex. Just the idea of that man makes the hair on the back of my neck stand at attention.
Our breakup was singularly the worst thing I’ve gone through, and I’ve had my fair share of bad luck. Jacob Johnson tore me apart from the inside, inflicted a wound that no one could see even though I was bleeding out. But when stacked against my bandmates’ noble causes my excuse fails miserably.
I can’t deny that the money is good or that being on the road if we can even call it that anymore with all the planes and trains that we travel on, is taking its toll. And I mean really what is the likelihood of me bumping into the one guy I knew once upon a forever ago in a city of millions?
So, I paste on what I hope is a convincing smile and pull on my big girl panties. I can do this. For them, I will do a lot.
“Let’s do it.”
“The same rules apply to you too, Sin. I need a definitive yes.” Adam says.
I close my eyes tight and throw out a silent plea to the universe. Please do not make me regret this. Just a little grace. That’s all I’m asking for. I open my eyes to three pairs staring at me with varying levels of concern and expectation.
I clear my throat and with more conviction than I feel, I plunge headfirst into a decision I pray doesn’t come back to bite me in the ass.